Go for the Greens

goforthegreensimageWhat is it? A trade mission

When is it? September 21-24, 2016

Where is it? Orlando, Florida

What is the deadline date? August 12 (if you want to be considered for the scholarship)

Why attend (especially if you’re like me and you don’t play golf)? You will want to attend if you are interested in:

  1. Supplying to larger U.S. retailers/corporations. While supplying to a huge multi-national corporation may be beyond your scope, many of them have smaller, regional corporations that might be the ideal fit for you. This is known as being a “tier 2 or tier 3 supplier”. You can learn more about tier 2 or 3 supplier requirements at events like Go for the Greens where corporate reps will be on hand to answer your questions.
  2. Exporting (or already exporting and want to expand further). You will meet people who may be interested in importing your products and people who can help you navigate the export waters.
  3. Meeting women business owners from Canada and the U.S. who are growing their businesses via exporting. Talking to women entrepreneurs who are exporting is a great way to learn from their experiences. They may also be able to provide contacts and suggestions on how you could expand into their respective province or state.
  4. Learning how Canadian and American women entrepreneurs have achieved success. You will have the opportunity to meet women who have “been there and are doing that!” Some are operating multi-million dollar businesses.
  5. Exploring opportunities, innovations and trends. It is at events like these that new, innovative ideas are born!

I attended the Bank of Montreal Celebrating Successful Women event in May where Lee Meagher, owner of Scoot-around, was one of the women entrepreneurs acknowledged. She’s a Manitoban who has always lived here, her business is headquartered in Winnipeg, and she transformed her idea into a multi-million dollar operation. In Lee’s thank you speech she encouraged women business owners to consider exporting to the U.S. Why? That is how she did it — 90% of her business is in the U.S.

If you believe exporting to the U.S. makes sense for your business, the first step in making it a reality is to make it a priority. Then it requires learning and making connections. That is where attending Go for the Greens (and other trade missions) come into play.

Business Women in International Trade (BWIT), a Government of Canada program, is organizing the delegation of Canadian women business owners interested in attending Go for the Greens. For more information and to register for Go for the Greens, you must:

  • Email the BWIT Team to request the application form and express your interest. BWIT will guide you through the application process.

Opportunity to have your conference cost covered:

  • If you complete the BWIT application process and the Go for the Greens registration before August 12, you may be eligible for a scholarship that will cover the full cost of the conference and golf networking event. Three women will be awarded this scholarship.
  • To qualify, the business must have at least three years of experience as a women-owned business (51% woman-owned), have a viable product/service, and be ready to export or are already exporting (includes e-commerce). An asset qualification is having an environmentally friendly product/service. To apply, you must complete BWIT’s registration process and email a 100-125 word description on how this conference can catapult the growth of your business. DEADLINE: August 12, 2016. Please note: the Canadian scholarship will only be granted to companies that have not received one in the past.
  • You will also need to register separately for the Go for the Greens conference here. (Canadian delegates receive a special rate of $300 USD – select international conference rate).

If you have any questions about Go for the Greens or exporting, feel free to contact me. If you are interested in attending Go for the Greens, please let me know.

Why attend trade missions?

This question is not easily answered. Often it’s hard to justify the ROI. But for most of us, the creative juices start flowing when we get away from the daily grind of the business, meet new people and hear their stories, and when we challenge ourselves to step into unknown territory. New ideas, innovation, inspiration and opportunities for business growth come from getting away from all that is familiar, and experiencing new environments and people.

  • Have you met the trade commissioners in Ottawa who lead the Business Women in International Trade program? Or any other trade commissioners? The federal government has staff in Canada and in several other countries who help business owners figure out international trade. Some of them will attend Go for the Greens.
  • Have you had a chance to sit down to dinner or play golf with women business owners who have successfully built multi-million dollar businesses? That’s another opportunity you will get at Go for the Greens.
  • How many times have you been able to have conversations with reps from corporations like Disney to see if they might be interested in what you have to offer? Do you know how their corporations procure? Do you know what they see as a challenge in putting new products on their retail shelves? What do they look for when considering a new supplier? You will have opportunity for one-on-one conversations with corporate procurement specialists and supplier diversity specialists who can help you understand how to work towards being a supplier for a larger corporation.

While you probably won’t leave Go for the Greens with a contract, you will walk away with contacts for potential buyers and ideas on how those buyers and procurement specialists make decisions on suppliers. By the end of the trade mission, you will be much closer to understanding what you need to do to prepare for exporting and supply to larger corporations. If you see exporting in your business future, attending trade missions is a must.

  • Nancy Brommell, Business Advisor at the Women’s Enterprise Centre of Manitoba and frequent trade mission participant!